Born on March 28, 2011, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Hadlie Violet Hoglund was always vivacious and fierce. Hadlie was born just two days short of two years after her brother, Kade. Our perfect little family lived in Leduc, Alberta until October 2013 when we moved to Grande Prairie, Alberta. We became a very tight family of four, knowing almost no one in our new city. We did everything together and enjoyed our new dedication to living life full of fun. Shortly after Hadlie’s third birthday we noticed she began limping on her left leg. We waited a few days to see if she had simply hurt it, but it persisted so we took her to get x-rays. Nothing came from those, and her balance was also now being affected. That week the mobility in her left hand decreased. She was trying to catch a ball, but could not even open her hand. We knew that this was serious and could be something neurological, so we took her to the hospital. Unfortunately, we were not able to see a pediatrician, and instead, were told to wait for an appointment with one. Two days later our instincts brought her back to the hospital and we demanded a CT scan. That will be the day that forever changed our lives. On May 17, 2014 Hadlie had a CT scan that showed a tumour in her brain. We were flown, that day, to Edmonton, to the Stollery Children’s Hospital. Hadlie had an MRI and then we waited for the news. At the very worst, I thought, she will need surgery and they can remove the tumour and she might have chemotherapy. Never did I think that the news would be that she had DIPG, a brain tumour that cannot be treated, and she will die from it. There is so much to tell about Hadlie’s medical journey, but to be honest, that has nothing to do with who she was and how we lived, so I will say that there were very hard days and complications and a lot of tears, the worst of which was while she was doing radiation therapy, but we do not leave our focus there.
We choose to live a very positive life and although DIPG is incredibly debilitating and devastating we were blessed with the strength to live life to the fullest with Hadlie. From the moment Hadlie was diagnosed, our family decided we would not waste a second. We would fulfill Hadlie’s dreams and wishes as best we could and cherish every single day with both of our children. Our journey took us to a bunch of MLB games in Toronto and Boston, to see Hadlie’s beloved Red Sox. We travelled to Disneyland (twice!), rode horses, and went to two luaus in Maui. When Hadlie was diagnosed we started a Facebook page, called Hadlie’s Bucket List, and documented her journey there, focusing on our perspective of living life to the fullest.
Hadlie completed her final bucket list item on March 28, 2015 by turning four. Sadly, the next day, she died. Hadlie loved a lot of things: the colour purple, princesses, Hello Kitty, beef jerky, cupcakes, but she really just loved life. She smiled a lot and we feel blessed that she was a happy child until just days before she died. We do not remember Hadlie as a sick child, we remember her as a stubborn and fierce lady who knew what she wanted, but was also kind and cared so much about others. We adopted the Shakespearean quote “Though she be but little she is fierce”, for Hadlie before she was diagnosed with DIPG, and after, it became her mantra. Today, we live with constant splashes of joy from Hadlie as she continues to leave a legacy of her fierce personality with us.
Along our journey we were so blessed to have had an outpouring of support from our friends and family, but also from complete strangers. We continue to get strength from others’ kind words through our Facebook page, and we want to dedicate our lives to finding a cure for DIPG. We are in the beginning stages of starting the first DIPG foundation in Canada and feel encouraged to make a change and educate. We have now changed our Facebook page name to Hadlie’s Bucket List Foundation, where we will continue to share our personal journey and also update about our foundation. Hadlie’s Bucket List Foundation will raise money for DIPG research, start a local tumor donation program, and one day help other kids affected by DIPG check an item off of their own bucket list.
Submitted by Hadlie’s mom, Sarah.